Expert articles and wine tasting videos profiling wines from California, California wine regions, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, & more.

2014 Jaffurs Syrah Larner Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 

Purple in color.  The nose is very nice with black raspberries, black cherries, roasted herbs and slight violet notes.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  It is a big wine, but not over blown.  Notes of black raspberries over a char and dry earth.  Good balance.  Long finish.  This is still young and will likely improve.  It needs about five years until peak and should be good for ten to fifteen after that.  Syrahs like this go well with Indian food and also meat based dishes.  

2009 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$260.00USD

Deep purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is great.  Very Bordeaux-like in a Californian way.  Cassis, cherries, baking spices with a slight black licorice.  On the palate, this is young but showing some maturity.  Light to medium tannins.  On the palate, the fruit is more black cherry than cassis.  Some oak still showing.  Some minerals and dry earthiness underneath.  Nice finish.  This is a beautiful wine that is probably at the start of peak.  It will mature more over the next ten years and be good for another ten to fifteen after that.  

2012 Sine Qua Non Grenache Stein, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$225.00USD

Few people make Grenache in California at a level of this.  Manfred Krankl, the owner/winemaker here, does it consistently.  It skirts the line of being large yet having elegance.  This is a blend of 76% Grenache, 16% Syrah, and 8% Mourvedre.  Just a delicious wine.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has great raspberry fruit along with black raspberries, char, black pepper and spice.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, the raspberries and black raspberries come thru.  Wonderful lush texture.  Underlying pepper and char.  Long finish.  This needs about five more years until peak an

2010 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon RBS Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$350.00USD

A really great wine.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, chocolate, char, slight camphor note and coffee.  This is a rich, big wine.  Delicious.  Flavors of cassis, blueberries with slight chocolate over spice and char.  Juicy acidity.  Medium tannins.  Long finish. This needs about 5 to seven more years until peak and then should be great for ten to twenty more years.  It will work with big foods like steak or roasts.  

2013 MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$575.00USD

Wow.  This wine was decanted  for 10 hours in a Magnum size decanter prior to serving.  It needed every bit of that.  Inky purple in color.   What an awesome nose.  Cassis, moist earth, baking spice and slight cigar box.  On the palate, this has firm tannins.  Loads of cassis, some black cherries over a rich earthiness with some cedar.  Great balance.  This is a powerful wine but not a monster in that sense.  Lots of fruit but with pin point attack.  Long finish.  This needs at least ten years to get close to peak but if you can't resist, a decant of at least 12 and even 24 hours is needed.

2010 Abreu Howell Mountain, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$335.00USD

A wow red blend to be sure.  This has 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Malbec and 5% Merlot.  Still young, this was pop and pour and rocking from the get-go.  Purple in color.  The nose is great with cassis, plums, cigar box, graphite, baking spice and slight cedar.  On the palate, this is full bodied yet very concentrated.  Powerful and intense.  Lots of cassis, some blueberries, plums wound with tobacco, chocolate and slight char.  Medium tannins.  Long finish.  This kept evolving in the glass.  It probably won't peak for another five years or so and should

2007 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$395.00USD

Wow.  This is in a great place right now (and has been for a while).  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is classic, Californian, and amazing.  Cassis, blueberries, pencil lead, spice and slight chocolate.  Amazing texture.  Full bodied.  Racy yet, powerful.  There are light to medium tannins.  At age 12, this is still not yet at full maturity.  Flavors of cassis, blueberries, slight chocolate and char.  Great balance.  Long finish.  One of the great wines of the world.  

2015 Denner The Dirt Worshipper, USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

Another winner from Denner.  A blend of 96% Syrah, 2% Roussanne, 2% Viognier.  Inky purple in color, a thin ruby rim.  The nose is big and warm.  Black raspberries, black pepper, slight roasted meats, slight black olives.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Full bodied.  Black raspberry fruit, roasted meats and herbs and a bit of black pepper.  Lush texture.  Long finish.  This is easy to drink.  On its own, this is perfect, however, it will continue to evolve over the next five to seven years and be more complex and food friendly.  It will go well with roasts and meat casseroles.  

2013 Campesino Syrah Sangiacomo Old Lakeville Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

This is an excellent cooler climate Syrah.  Reasonably priced too.  Purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, leather, roasted herbs and an interesting camphor note.  Full bodied.  On the palate, the boysenberries come thru over a bed of char and slight earthiness.  This needs two or three more years to peak and then should be good for another ten to twelve after that.  It will pair well with roasts and grilled foods and also Indian cuisine.  

2016 Bevan Cellars Ontogeny, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$96.00USD

Russell Bevan's wines are outstanding but they can get expensive.  This is expensive too, but half the price of his single vineyard releases.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls.  The nose has cassis, cedar, slight tobacco and spice.  Young, of course with firm tannins.  Wonderful lush texture.  Lots of juicy cassis fruit with some graphite and char.  Long finish.  This is delicious now but will continue to improve for the next five to ten years and be good for ten to twenty after that.  It will go well with roasts or heavier dishes.  

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